New GAA president hopes kids will be allowed return to training

Larry McCarthy believes children and parents need the joy of physical activity again
New GAA president hopes kids will be allowed return to training

Larry McCarthy, the new GAA President, who hails from Bishopstown. Picture: INPHO/Tom O'Hanlon

NEW GAA president Larry McCarthy is hoping kids will be allowed to return to GAA training shortly, on the basis of schools successfully reopening across the coming weeks.

The Bishopstown native, elected to the role on a three-year term as a New York GAA representative, made the case in his first address as president for children to get back in action to "bring fun back into many people's lives".

“We are operating at the behest of the Government and the public health authorities, and we will continue to do so.

“I would respectfully ask the authorities that we be allowed to have activity for children in our clubs once schools have safely opened. We showed last year that we can do this very safely and very effectively. Acknowledging that the circumstances are more onerous now, there is no doubt in my mind that we can do so again.

“This will have a three-fold effect, it will get our children engaged in organised physical activity with their friends, it will allow the parents a slight relief from the stress of the pandemic, and it will bring fun back into many people’s lives.

To the public health authorities, please give consideration to this request. 

"We did it last year, we can do it again.”

He also showed support for a league-style championship, when the 10 motions addressing the All-Ireland football series are debated in a special congress later this year. 

They were pushed back from Saturday's virtual Annual Congress to be examined in person, due to their importance.

“We will hopefully be bold and trial one of the new formats.

“One of options links the Allianz League to the Championship. It would appear to have the potential to make the Championship competition more competitive, at least in the early rounds. It has the potential to alleviate the issue of non-competitive games which exist in some of our football competitions.

“Our hurling championships have evolved into excellent tiered competitions where counties are competing at an appropriate level. We now need to evolve and create competitions where club players can have similar opportunities particularly in counties where hurling is not the first preference of the majority.”

He also focused on the need for a defined closed-season for players.

“In calling on all members of the Association, I include those who may be members of backroom teams, to understand that rest is as important as activity in the preparation of athletes."

It tied in with one of the elements of outgoing president John Horan's speech, where he praised Cork, among others, for accepting heavy punishments for breaching Covid training bans. 

Cork football manager Ronan McCarthy is currently suspended for 12 weeks while the Rebels must forfeit a home league game, assuming it goes ahead after Easter.

“There has not always been a culture in the GAA of taking responsibility for our actions. 

All too often a punishment is met with a resolve to look for a loophole or a technicality to get off the hook.

“In this context, I would single out leadership shown in Armagh, Down, and Cork county boards and in Dungarvan GAA Club when they had to take action over Covid breaches and severe punishment was merited, was issued, and was accepted. This sets an example more should follow."

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